He was supposed to lift you in his arms and bounce you on his lap. Instead, he gave you scars only visible to you - ones that are still raw.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 27, 2019. It has since been updated.
When it comes to our parents, most of us have wonderful memories of growing up with them. But it isn't the case for everyone. There are people who grew up with parents who never showed them the kind of unconditional love from their parents that others got. The toxicity is all they remember from their childhood. For some, it was their mothers, for some it was their fathers and for others, it was both. However, whether it's your mother or father, the scars that are formed at a time when you should have been loved stay with you forever.
And when it is with your father, the effects can be just as devastating. Those wounds that they opened up, never really closed even as you entered adulthood.
There was always a dark cloud hanging over you about how if you weren't good enough or didn't do what your father expected you to do, he would leave you. And even as you grew up and found a life of your own, you still thought that about others - that if you even stood up for yourself, people would think that you were of no use to them anymore and that they would leave you behind
According to Elisabetta Franzoso, a life coach, "Our fathers are the first man that we as women know intimately. When we get married, we tend to fall into the patterns of behaviour that we observed and learnt from our parents. What he does or does not do around the house becomes imprinted in us as the template of a man or husband. Positive or negative, our father is the man setting the standard against which all other men will be measured." So when it comes time for your relationship, you never saw your father being committed so you don't know how to either.
You were supposed to receive unconditional love from your father. No matter what happened, you were supposed to be able to have faith that he would be there for you. But he wasn't. If you didn't do something that he wanted, he would withdraw his love until and unless you bent to his will. It's where the feeling of not being worthy of love started and it carried over as an adult. Now, you think that if you oppose someone you care about, they will decide that you don't need their love anymore.
With a toxic father, if you decided to stand up for yourself, you would get battered, either emotionally or physically. Soon enough you realized that the less you tried to confront him, the less you were going to be abused. Even in a relationship, you do everything your partner asks you to do because you're scared that if he chooses to, he could raise his hands or wield his sharp tongue.
Considering all the fears and insecurities you have been harboring for so long, the only option you believe you have is to be on your own. You're just too tired to be constantly worrying about what you say and the reaction it will bring. You're exhausted living in the fear of whether the love you were given was going to be taken away. Because of this, you stopped interacting with others, especially with men or father-like figures. You figure that this is the only way you won't be hurt anymore.
Your self-esteem kept taking blows as your father kept listing out all your faults and making you feel like you were not deserving of his love. No matter how hard you tried, there was just nothing you could do to please him and at some point, you even started to believe him. Even if someone compliments you, you don't know how to take it because you're not used to it. Your daily routine is filled with intense self-criticism and it's a vicious cycle that you can't seem to escape.
But here's something to note: It was not your fault. It was never your fault. You were a child who was supposed to be given all the love and adoration from both your parents. You might think that your toxic father broke you, but he didn't because you're still here. You're still fighting, even if it isn't visible to anyone else. Don't ever give up on yourself.
Disclaimer: This article is based on facts collated from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.